Ellen Stuttle

Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

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I've just paid a visit to Auntie Kamhi's bossypants blog where she has a new entry.

Though I highly doubt that Auntie will be allowing my message to appear on her site, I offered the following in response to her latest gripe:

The idea of explaining works of art is nothing new. In fact, it's the entire history of art, most especially the nonverbal arts. Your assumption that works of visual art have throughout history, until recently, successfully communicated artists' intended meanings to individuals without supplementary/external information (or what Ayn Rand called "outside considerations") is unsupported by any evidence.

You have never objectively demonstrated that even one single work of alleged art has succeeded in meeting your criterion that a work of art can and must communicate intended meaning via its content alone and allowing for no outside considerations.

Oh, and, hey, prints of my work are now available online:

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/20-jonathan-smith.html

Lots of framing and matting options.

Maybe we could use my work to begin to test how good your theory of visual art is! Take at look at each work in my little online collection, and identify what my intended meaning is for each piece -- except for "Seance/Science," which includes the beginnings of a description of intentions. I'll give no clues, no outside considerations, to the other images.

Please, have at it. Let's see how you do.


J

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32 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

I've just paid a visit to Auntie Kamhi's bossypants blog where she has a new entry.

Though I highly doubt that Auntie will be allowing my message to appear on her site, I offered the following in response to her latest gripe:

The idea of explaining works of art is nothing new. In fact, it's the entire history of art, most especially the nonverbal arts. Your assumption that works of visual art have throughout history, until recently, successfully communicated artists' intended meanings to individuals without supplementary/external information (or what Ayn Rand called "outside considerations") is unsupported by any evidence.

You have never objectively demonstrated that even one single work of alleged art has succeeded in meeting your criterion that a work of art can and must communicate intended meaning via its content alone and allowing for no outside considerations.

Oh, and, hey, prints of my work are now available online:

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/20-jonathan-smith.html

Lots of framing and matting options.

Maybe we could use my work to begin to test how good your theory of visual art is! Take at look at each work in my little online collection, and identify what my intended meaning is for each piece -- except for "Seance/Science," which includes the beginnings of a description of intentions. I'll give no clues, no outside considerations, to the other images.

Please, have at it. Let's see how you do.


J

For Storm, which print tech do you think is best? The sheet aluminum sounds neat, but not if you say it is a mistake for that work or have a better idea. And is there a size limit, meaning does resolution of that work suggest a limit?

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From test samples, my personal preferences for almost all art are framed prints on their "Archival Matte Paper" or the "Somerset Velvet."

The metal option might work with Storm, but my view is that the metal is better with lighter tones and images that don't have so much black area.

As for resolution, the files that I uploaded were built for the largest size options, so there should be no problem with any size.

My advice -- personal taste -- would be decide what you want to pay, then create an order at/near that price which will get you a framed and matted print. Storm looks pretty damned slick with a white mat and the default black frame.

But, if your tastes are more toward the unframed look, then the metal, acrylic or canvas print would be the way to go.

J

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Auntie has a new post at her blog:

 

Quote

 

What Semmelweis Taught Me

What does a book report on the life of a nineteenth-century Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) have to do with artand art education, the subjects I’m now immersed in? Quite a lot, as it happens...

 

 

 

She won't be publishing my comment:

"The Semmelweis in me makes me repeat this unanswered challenge once again, Ms. Kamhi: Prove that anything has ever qualified as art by your definition and criteria. Objectively demonstrate it. As of this moment, nothing has ever been shown to qualify."

J

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The doctor collected data and made logical extrapolations. Additional data helped confirm.

I assume Kamhi believes in AGW. Or should.

--Brant

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10 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

The doctor collected data and made logical extrapolations. Additional data helped confirm.

I assume Kamhi believes in AGW. Or should.

--Brant

No data were ever involved. It started with theory based on feelings. Just certain people's feelings: the people who believe themselves to be the universal standard and limit of cognition, and of aesthetic response. Then rules were made, and were applied only to certain things so as to eliminate them from the realm of Art. THAT'S NOT ART!!! Those exact same rules have never been applied to the things which the rule-makers wish to accept as qualifying as Art. How dare anyone suggest that they be so applied!

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I don't think Rand herself went quite so far respecting art. There seems to be some equivocation, an equivocation not found in AS which was art but not about art. She needed absolute certainty or there would have been no 13 years writing it.

--Brant

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The tree of truth has many branches. Some are bogus. The trunk is reality and the branches are all human made. When you go out on the wrong limb it doesn't have to break off even if it's rotten and dead, but there your beliefs are, likely on public display, especially if you make a fuss about them.

--Brant

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When you are surrounded by rot but you aren't rot the rot can destroy you. Your integrity is your biggest protector as in the character of Howard Roark. But Howard slipped up by his involvement with Peter Keating and could have ended up in the slammer. All that work he did that Peter put his name on was fraudulent, but the novel needed structure born out of contrast and conflict.

Rand implicitly recognized this problem in AS by removing her heroes from society once they saw the light. This amounted to chopping down the whole tree leaving a few saplings behind. But you can only chop down the tree in fiction.

--Brant

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The unintended result was the destruction of art. Nothing is art by Objectivism's definition and criteria. Perhaps someday one thing might become art, and then another, but, for now, nothing qualifies or has been objectively proven to qualify. Objectivishists value denying art status to abstract art more than they value consistency, rationality and objectivity. They will not abandon their rules which they use to reject abstract art, even when they are shown that those same rules have the same devastating effect when equally applied to their favorite works which they falsely claim are validly classified as art. 

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It's all or nothing. All that's needed is a statement of preferences, I prefer this to that, not that that's not art and this is. Then nasty Jonathan can't slice and dice you.

Objectivity in art is from one's values, not existential criteria. That's objectivity off a subjective base. There's no contradiction for they are separated by the hierarchy.

What is art? Whatever hoi polloi wants to say or any "expert." The same for the converse. Without this anarchy creativity goes into the garbage can and what's left is imitation.

Ayn Rand had a great need to be in control and, naturally enough, it seeped down. You need to be in control when you're at war. She was always at war. 

--Brant

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

The unintended result was the destruction of art. Nothing is art by Objectivism's definition and criteria. Perhaps someday one thing might become art, and then another, but, for now, nothing qualifies or has been objectively proven to qualify. Objectivishists value denying art status to abstract art more than they value consistency, rationality and objectivity. They will not abandon their rules which they use to reject abstract art, even when they are shown that those same rules have the same devastating effect when equally applied to their favorite works which they falsely claim are validly classified as art. 

Hi, Jonathan. Can I ask what you think what the definition of art is, and if you think that there are some things that couldn't be called art? (I apologize if you've explained before, I haven't seen your comments to Kamhi that you mentioned.)

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5 hours ago, ThatGuy said:

Hi, Jonathan. Can I ask what you think what the definition of art is, and if you think that there are some things that couldn't be called art? (I apologize if you've explained before, I haven't seen your comments to Kamhi that you mentioned.)

"The" definition? Heh.

Um, I think that people can have differing views on what is or is not art. I just think that any definition and criteria that anyone offers up should be consistent, non-contradictory, and it should treat everyone's aesthetic responses as being equally valid, not just Ayn Rand's and Michelle Kamhi's. If one's definition and criteria require, say, communication of intended meanings, then that should be true of all art forms, and then all alleged art works should be objectively tested, rather than Rand's or Kamhi's favorites just being arbitrarily and falsely asserted as having succeeded in communicating.

As for your question some things not being art, I think the question is irrelevant. That's not a valid way of doing philosophy of aesthetics. One doesn't start out by imposing one's arbitrary wish to exclude certain things and then work back from there. When you do that, you end up with the contradictory mess that the Objectivist aesthetics is. You invent irrational standards, and then you end up with nothing qualifying as art.

J

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

"The" definition? Heh.

Um, I think that people can have differing views on what is or is not art. I just think that any definition and criteria that anyone offers up should be consistent, non-contradictory, and it should treat everyone's aesthetic responses as being equally valid, not just Ayn Rand's and Michelle Kamhi's. If one's definition and criteria require, say, communication of intended meanings, then that should be true of all art forms, and then all alleged art works should be objectively tested, rather than Rand's or Kamhi's favorites just being arbitrarily and falsely asserted as having succeeded in communicating.

As for your question some things not being art, I think the question is irrelevant. That's not a valid way of doing philosophy of aesthetics. One doesn't start out by imposing one's arbitrary wish to exclude certain things and then work back from there. When you do that, you end up with the contradictory mess that the Objectivist aesthetics is. You invent irrational standards, and then you end up with nothing qualifying as art.

J

Thank you for explaining.

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15 hours ago, Jon Letendre said:

How about “Manmade things intended to induce emotional, contemplative reactions”?

Yeah, not bad.

J

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Yeah, not bad.

J

I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about art but I have followed many of your conversations with interest. When you  point out the inconsistency that music doesn’t fit her criteria but she called it art anyway, they break into gibberish or avoid the issue, it’s comical, I’m always entertained by it.

I also don’t get the either–or rigidity regarding whether this or that discipline is art, say, architecture. Keeping water out is utility not art, but a textured roof that looks like waves of wind over tall grass and costs three times a traditional roof and raises the cost of the home by 8% is art because it was done for contemplation and aesthetic consideration, the essential characteristic of art. Insisting on the absence of utility strikes me as definition by exclusion.

We can make distinctions, we can call it fine art or pure art when there is no utility at all. But if someone’s favorite sculpture turns out, unbeknownst to them, to be a personal aircraft — you press this button here and wings fold out and you can fly away in the thing — then now they have to pick a new favorite sculpture because this one isn’t art anymore?  Seems like definition by non–essentials to me.

 

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22 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

I’m not knowledgeable or passionate about art but I have followed many of your conversations with interest. When you  point out the inconsistency that music doesn’t fit her criteria but she called it art anyway, they break into gibberish or avoid the issue, it’s comical, I’m always entertained by it.

I also don’t get the either–or rigidity regarding whether this or that discipline is art, say, architecture. Keeping water out is utility not art, but a textured roof that looks like waves of wind over tall grass and costs three times a traditional roof and raises the cost of the home by 8% is art because it was done for contemplation and aesthetic consideration, the essential characteristic of art. Insisting on the absence of utility strikes me as definition by exclusion.

We can make distinctions, we can call it fine art or pure art when there is no utility at all. But if someone’s favorite sculpture turns out, unbeknownst to them, to be a personal aircraft — you press this button here and wings fold out and you can fly away in the thing — then now they have to pick a new favorite sculpture because this one isn’t art anymore?  Seems like definition by non–essentials to me.

 

Well said.

J

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

How about "If Kamhi says, 'It's not art!'"?

--Brant

Yes, or anyone who screams "Not ART!!!" as loudly or louder than Kamhi does. Whomever dedicates the largest portion of their life to denying the validity of other people's aesthetic responses wins, and becomes the universal standard and limit of cognition and of aesthetic response.

J

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2 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Yes, or anyone who screams "Not ART!!!" as loudly or louder than Kamhi does. Whomever dedicates the largest portion of their life to denying the validity of other people's aesthetic responses wins, and becomes the universal standard and limit of cognition and of aesthetic response.

J

So much "Not ART!!!", so little time!

--Brant

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Oh no!!!

Auntie Kamhi is dismayed, disturbed and distraught about something!

And still arguing from the irrational and subjectivist position that her own personal cognitive and aesthetic limitations MUST be the universal limits of all of mankind -- still practicing nothing but the fallacy of Argument From Personal Incredulity. 

Dismaying Exhibition of De Waal Installations at the Frick

Edmund de Waal is the justly acclaimed British author of The Hare with Amber Eyes, a superb history/memoir of the Ephrussi banking family, of which he is a scion. He is also the creator of an unprecedented temporary exhibition now at the Frick Collection in New York City. Entitled Elective Affinities, it is the first exhibition of work by a living artist in the museum’s main galleries. Lamentably, it presents a dismaying contrast with the Frick’s permanent collection—as well as with his admirable book. It also exemplifies much of what is wrong with the contemporary artworld...

https://www.mmkamhi.com/2019/06/23/de-waal-installations-at-the-frick/

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On 4/16/2019 at 8:45 AM, Brant Gaede said:

The tree of truth has many branches. Some are bogus. The trunk is reality and the branches are all human made. When you go out on the wrong limb it doesn't have to break off even if it's rotten and dead, but there your beliefs are, likely on public display, especially if you make a fuss about them.

--Brant

What qualifies as art? Who is an expert? The following is not about art but there was a case about the use of a drug to prevent morning sickness in pregnant women. What grew out of that are the standards governing expert testimony. Interesting. Peter

From Wikipedia. Medical uses The combination of pyridoxine, more commonly referred to as vitamin B6 and doxylamine is effective for the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. A 2018 review, however, found the benefit was small. Doxylamine and pyridoxine are pregnancy compatible drugs,[3] consistent with FDA's safety assessment of the combination product. They have been categorized by the FDA as a category A drug (no evidence of risk to the fetus). This letter classification system for risk in pregnancy is no longer being utilized and is currently being phased out by the FDA.[4]

Medical organizations’ position. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that the recommendation of “taking Vitamin B6 or Vitamin B6 plus doxylamine is safe and effective and should be considered a first-line treatment” is based on consistent scientific evidence.[5] This recommendation has been evaluated by the US Department of Health and Human ServicesAgency for Healthcare Research and Quality, who concur that the benefit of implementing the guideline recommendations would be a reduction on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.[6] The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) published a Clinical Practice Guideline on the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy in which it states that the “doxylamine/pyridoxine combination should be the standard of care, since it has the greatest evidence to support its efficacy and safety”. The Motherisk Program, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, recommends the combination of doxylamine and of pyridoxine as first-line therapy for the management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.[8]

The standard governing expert testimony. . . . Three key provisions of the Rules governed admission of expert testimony in court. First, scientific knowledge, meaning that the testimony must be scientific in nature and must be grounded in "knowledge." Of course, science does not claim to know anything with absolute certainty; science "represents a process for proposing and refining theoretical explanations about the world that are subject to further testing and refinement." The "scientific knowledge" contemplated by Rule 702 had to be arrived at by the scientific method.

Second, the scientific knowledge must assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue in the case. The trier of fact is often either a jury or a judge; but other fact finders may exist within the contemplation of the federal rules of evidence.[2] To be helpful to the trier of fact, there must be a "valid scientific connection to the pertinent inquiry as a prerequisite to admissibility." For example, although it is within the purview of scientific knowledge, knowing whether the moon was full on a given night does not typically assist the trier of fact in knowing whether a person was sane when he or she committed a given act.

Third, the Rules expressly provided that the judge would make the threshold determination[3] regarding whether certain scientific knowledge would indeed assist the trier of fact in the manner contemplated by Rule 702. "This entails a preliminary assessment of whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue." This preliminary assessment can turn on whether something has been tested, whether an idea has been subjected to scientific peer review or published in scientific journals, the rate of error involved in the technique, and even general acceptance, among other things. It focuses on methodology and principles, not the ultimate conclusions generated. The Court stressed that the new standard under Rule 702 was rooted in the judicial process and intended to be distinct and separate from the search for scientific truth. "Scientific conclusions are subject to perpetual revision. Law, on the other hand, must resolve disputes finally and quickly. The scientific project is advanced by broad and wide-ranging consideration of a multitude of hypotheses, for those that are incorrect will eventually be shown to be so, and that in itself is an advance." Rule 702 was intended to resolve legal disputes and, thus, had to be interpreted in conjunction with other rules of evidence and with other legal means of ending those disputes.

Cross examination within the adversary process is adequate to help legal decision makers arrive at efficient ends to disputes. "We recognize that, in practice, a gatekeeping role for the judge, no matter how flexible, inevitably on occasion will prevent the jury from learning of authentic insights and innovations. That, nevertheless, is the balance that is struck by Rules of Evidence designed not for the exhaustive search for cosmic understanding but for the particularized resolution of legal disputes."

Aftermath. Main article: Daubert standard After Daubert, it was expected that the range of scientific opinion evidence used in court would be expanded. However, courts have strictly applied the standards in Daubert, and it has generally been successful in excluding "junk science" or "pseudoscience", as well as new or experimental techniques and research that the decision might have been expected to deem admissible.

Discerning between science and "pseudoscience" was the theme of a book by Karl Popper whose summary was quoted in Daubert: "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability." The book, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (5th ed. 1989), pp. 34–57, explains how psychology is more like astrology than astronomy because it does not make predictions about an individual which are falsifiable. He wrote that "the impressive thing about" Einstein's predictions "is the risk involved...If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted." But "it was impossible to describe a human behaviour" which would be accepted as proving psychology false.

The considerations in Daubert do not all have to be met for the evidence to be admitted. It is necessary only that the majority of the tests be substantially complied with. The principle in Daubert was expanded in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (1999), where the evidence in question was from a technician and not a scientist. The technician was going to testify that the only possible cause of a tire blowout must have been a manufacturing defect, as he could not determine any other possible cause. The Court of Appeal had admitted the evidence on the assumption that Daubert did not apply to technical evidence, only scientific evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, saying that the standard in Daubert could apply to merely technical evidence, but that in this case, the evidence of the proposed expert did not meet the standard. 

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Can I get one more plug in on this thread? This sure doesn’t pertain to me after many years of marriage but isn’t this worth a re-listen on YouTube? Vonda Sheppard, “Searchin’ My Soul,” which was the anthem for the TV show Ally McBeal.

 . . . . Got myself together, now I'm ready to sing
I've been searchin' my soul tonight
I know there's so much more to life
Now I know I can shine a light
To find my way back home

One by one, the chains around me unwind
Every day now I feel that I can leave those years behind
Oh I've been thinking of you for a long time
There's a side of my life where I've been blind and so. . .  
I've been searchin' my soul tonight . . . .

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